BEIRUT: U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly urged lawmakers Thursday to complete the presidential election before the Constitutional deadline, a day after Parliament failed to elect a candidate.
“I should take the opportunity in light of yesterday’s events to stress the priority that we attach to the continuity of state institutions and in that sense to welcome the beginning of the presidential election process yesterday and to underline our concern that it be completed successfully within the timeframe set by law,” Plumbly said.
His comments came during a brief chat with reporters at the Grand Serail following a meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
MPs failed Wednesday to elect a new president in the first round of polls in Parliament with presidential hopeful Samir Geagea receiving 48 votes while 52 lawmakers opted to cast a blank ballot.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled April 30 for the second round of voting in which a nominee should receive 65 votes to win.
Plumbly also said he discussed with Salam the security plan aimed at restoring law and order in the country, saying he expressed appreciation for the measures.
The U.N. official said he stressed the “international community’s support for Lebanon’s security and the steps this government is taking.”
“Specifically, on the army, we had a meeting in Rome two weeks ago which was a preparatory one designed to reinforce international efforts to assist the Lebanese army,” he said.
The two also spoke about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon, with over one million refugees.
“I emphasized our continued support for the government as it tries to address the very immediate challenges, our understanding of the size of the challenge facing Lebanon and the readiness of the United Nations to stand side by side with Lebanon including, of course, in providing assistance to host communities,” he said.